All Sorts of Weird Stuff: News

All Sorts of Weird Stuff offers news and information about George R.R. Martin, in particular about his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

"When I was young, I read all sorts of stuff. One week it would be Lovecraft, the next Vance. It was all imaginative literature, or as my dad called it 'Weird Stuff.' It was all 'Weird Stuff.'"

George R.R. Martin

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March 2015
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BenBella to Publish Beyond the Wall Essay Anthology

We mentioned this last night Twitter and Facebook, but it was quite late so we saved this post for today.

BenBella Books will be publishing Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in June of this year, as part of their Smart Pop series. Edited by James Lowder, the anthology collects critical essays from a number of writers that examine the novels from various perspectives. We’ve seen a partial list of topics, and there promises to be some very interesting material in there.

The full list of contributors or topics can’t be shared yet, but we can name a couple, at least: us. Q&A with George R.R. Martin

About a week and a half ago, we saw a tweet from someone who worked at the same building in which is housed who noted that they had gone downstairs to the cafeteria and found George R.R. Martin holding forth. We had figured it was something to do with the A Feast for Crows audio book being re-released with Roy Dotrice reading it, but had assumed it’d be something included in that.

In fact, Audible’s released it straight to Youtube, and we’ve embedded it below. As well, we’ve linked it over at the So Spake Martin section of the Citadel, which collects interviews, correspondence, and more from GRRM.

Auction Update: Original AFfC Art and More

We’ve previously reported on the benefit auction for writer Terri Windling, with contributions of rare and signed items from various authors, artists, and more, including George R.R. Martin. Some more GRRM-related material has come in—including an original piece of art from the Subterranean Press limited edition of A Feast for Crows, drawn and donated by artist Thomas Canty (one of our very favorite artists, BTW!) so we’d thought we’d provide links to all the relevant items to make it easy to find:

There are many, many other things in there, from prints from Alan Lee to signed books by Neil Gaiman, and much more. All for a good cause!

Wild Cards E-Book Sale

Last week, announced that four of the Wild Cards novels will be available for just $2.99 each in e-book editions available in the US.. Wild Cards is the oldest, still-active original shared world setting, created by George R.R. Martin and a number of fellow authors. Detailing an alternate history where an alien virus led to mass casualties, disfigurement, and a handful of individuals with superhuman abilities, the Wild Cards universe has seen 21 novels (a 22nd due next year), comic books, and roleplaying games, while being a playground for authors as varied as Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Carrie Vaughn, Melinda Snodgrass, and of course George R.R. Martin.

The four books that are part of the offer are the re-issue of the book that started it all, Wild Cards, and then the three novels of the “new generation” trilogy: Inside Straight, Busted Flush, and Suicide Kings. Again, to take advantage of these prices, you’ll have to be in the U.S.—Amazon members with foreign addresses will see the regular prices; possibly other stores may show the $2.99 price, depending on their policies.

The new trilogy’s a good read, while Wild Cards I is something of a classic in superhero fiction, introducing a range of memorable characters marked by an unusually realistic approach to dealing with their lives and travails.

Vote for Goodreads Favorite Books

Goodreads, the massive social book site, is running their annual Choice Awards, and wouldn’t you know it? A Dance with Dragons is on the shortlist, not just in Best Fantasy but also the overall Favorite Book of 2011 category. Many other fine works are on both lists, so checking it out (and voting!) is certainly a good idea if you want to support your favorite books of the last year.

As an aside, GRRM’s assistant Ty Franck and writer Daniel Abraham, who together write as James S.A. Corey, are also up for an award in the Best Science Fiction category with the novel Leviathan Wakes. Congratulations to the both of them—it’s well-deserved for a book that’s been quite well reviewed indeed.

More Wild Cards Film Details

During the weekend, news broke that SyFy Films (a joint venture of the SyFy Channel and Universal Studios) and had optioned theatrical and television rights to Wild Cards, the original shared-world superhero series concocted by George R.R. Martin and the Wild Cards Consortium of writers. We’ve done some digging, and we have a handful of additional details to share.

Skin Trade Official Site

We’ve previously covered Mike the Pike Productions, who are developing George R.R. Martin‘s award-winning horror novella, “The Skin Trade” (found in Dreamsongs Volume 2, which also contains the first Dunk & Egg novella “The Hedge Knight”, set in Westeros, and many other excellent stories) for film. Now they’ve decided to ratchet up the visibility of the project by launching an official site.

The site offers hints as to the story and the production team currently in place, including noting that Filmworks FX—a post-production company that’s worked on Red Riding Hood, Knight and Day, The Tourist, and other Hollywood film projects—is on-board to handled VFX and is intimately involved at an unusually early stage in development.

Besides the official website, Mike the Pike Productions have also launched a Facebook Page—named Blackstone Manor, after a key location in the novella—which features news, updates, and the occasional query to readers. Right now, the page asks fans who they’d like to see direct The Skin Trade, and I’ve chimed in with British director Neil Marshall, who recently wrapped up filming on the penultimate episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones... and who first rose to the attention of horror fans thanks to his cult classic, Dog Soldiers.

Wild Cards Developing for Feature Film

The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reveals that Wild Cards had been optioned for development by Syfy Films—the theatrical division of the Syfy channel—and Universal Studios, with the screenplay set to be handled by there-from-the-start author Melinda Snodgrass, who (like GRRM) has TV writing experience.

New GRRM Interview

An interesting interview at NY Magazine cropped up. It starts out discussing Game of Thrones—revealing for the first time that while Sean Bean may have been the first choice for Ned, the producers hedged their bets (probably due to uncertainty at the actor’s availabiity) by auditioning additional actors—but then shifts to some very interesting questions regarding A Dance with Dragons... particularly one bit in it which appears to have given Martin significant pause before he answered it. Hrm….

Well worth reading, and not just because and the in-progress World of Ice Fire world book are mentioned! Also, for those new to the site, this interview—and many, many others over the years—are linked at the So Spake Martin collection.

Down These Strange Streets

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have once more teamed up as editors to put together a new, themed anthology, and it’s hit shelves today!

Down These Strange Streets (US Hardcover, UK Hardcover, US Kindle) features more than a dozen authors writing urban fantasy short stories, including such notables as Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs, Diana Gabaldon, and Martin’s fellow HBO-adapted author, Charlaine Harris. Other contributors include Melinda Snodgrass, M.L.N. Hanover, Simon R. Green, and Lisa Tuttle.

A complete table of contents can be found below:

Ice and Fire #5 on NPR Top 100 List

We posted a couple of weeks ago about NPR asking SF/F readers to vote on a very long list (237 finalists in total) so they could narrow it down to a Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy titles. The results are in, and it’s a great pleasure to see that George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series not only made the list, it went all the way to #5. Ahead of it were Frank Herbert’s Dune, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and at #1, what else? J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Congratulations to George, and to the other authors on the list, which is worth checking out (and lets give a special shoutout to Ursula K. Le Guin’s body of work, which really should have rated much higher, in our opinion… and may have done so, if only someone had thought to put the Earthsea quartet on the list!)

Thomas Dunne to Publish Game of Thrones Parody

Well, if Tolkien got the Bored of the Rings treatment, why not? Once they start parodying you, you’ve hit a certain level of cultural currency.

According to The Wrap, Thomas Dunne Books have acquired the rights to A Game of Groans from pseudonymous author George R.R. Contanza. There’s a brief blurb of the novel attached to the report, which reads as follows:

... set in a world where seasons can last decades (and comparisons to Tolkien a lifetime), the warmth is returning, and in the thawing tundra to the North of Summerseve, the future of the Bark family, their BFFs, and their enemies dangles in the balance ...
GRRM to Read from The Winds of Winter

Well, this is a nice surprise: according to George R. R. Martin’s post regarding this year’s Worldcon, Renovation, he’ll be reading an extract from the sixth book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter. This, and many other items, are on GRRM’s schedule for the convention.

We suspect that the reading on Thursday (scheduled for 2 hours, though we suspect a Q&A is part of it) is going to feature a room filled to capacity.

For those who are primarily interested in the TV show, the Game of Thrones presentation panel was extended from one hour to two hours, so it can accomadate a special screening of George’s episode, “The Pointy End”... with commentary from the author himself! Wow. Besides that, David J. Peterson—creator of the Dothraki language for the show—will be on hand for panels and workshops related to language creation, including a presentation on Dothraki; his schedule can be found here.

Having twice attended Worldcon, we have to really recommend paying a visit—even if just for one day—to get a look at a science fiction convention as the SF fandom community have developed to a high (if sometimes eccentric) art form. Thousands of fellow fans, well-stocked dealers and art rooms, costuming galore, and (literally) hundreds of program items featuring writers, editors, fans, scientists, academics, and even the occasional actor or screenwriter—there’s nothing quite like Worldcon out there. The price may seem steep, but the value’s quite high. Not least if you just want to hang out with George, who we guarantee will be hanging out with the fans at the convention during the nightly floor parties thrown at the convention hotel; make sure not to miss the Brotherhood without Banners parties!

And if you can’t make it… well, I’m pretty sure the forum is going to feature reports regarding these events within hours (perhaps even minutes) of their conclusion. Keep an eye out!

Renovation runs from August 17 to August 21. To learn more about memberships and day rates, see here.

Comic-Con Schedule

Lots and lots of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones, and Wild Cards-related events at San Diego Comic Con. Below, we’ll try and pick out some of the most notable:

GRRM Signing in Albuquerque

George R.R. Martin and several Wild Cards authors—Melinda Snodgrass, Victor Milan, and John Jos. Miller.—will today be signing copies of Fort Freak and other Wild Cards books at Page 1 Books in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The signing will run from 2:30PM through to around 5PM. George notes on his “Not a Blog” that this is very much a Wild Cards event:

NO COPIES OF DANCE WITH DRAGONS WILL BE ON SALE! I may be able to autograph some of your Ice & Fire books, if time permits, but probably not more than one, and only with a purchase of FORT FREAK. And in the talk and the Q&A session, we’ll be talking about Wild Cards, not the new Ice & Fire book or the HBO show. Sorry, but to let GAME OF THRONES take over the session would not be fair to the other writers.